Skip to main content

San Francisco To Seek Donations for Supervised Drug Use Sites

Written by David SjostedtPublished Mar. 21, 2023 • 2:38pm
Mayor London Breed (left) flanked by City Attorney David Chiu (right) on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at the Lady Shaw Senior Center in Chinatown, San Francisco, Calif. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new legislation on Tuesday that allows the Department of Public Health to solicit donations for supervised drug use sites in San Francisco. 

The legislation, which passed unanimously on Tuesday, lets the Mayor’s Office and the health department solicit funds from private donors to support supervised consumption sites operated by local nonprofits. Doing so requires bypassing the city’s Behested Payments ordinance, which restricts city officials from soliciting payments from contractors or other parties that do business with the city.

The legislation is a new step in the city’s efforts to find creative ways to fund drug use facilities, which remain illegal under state and federal law, without using public funds. 

SF City Attorney David Chiu has said that the city shouldn’t use public funding for a safe consumption site, but that he supports a nonprofit in moving forward with the idea independently. 

Two New York safe consumption sites run by the nonprofit OnPoint cost $1.4 million to operate during business hours five days a week. Running the sites 24/7 would cost $4.3 million a year, according to OnPoint executive director Sam Rivera.

The Tenderloin Center, the city’s first safe consumption site, opened under Mayor London Breed’s emergency declaration and closed in December, costing the city $22 million last year. Many addiction experts say the sites are an integral part of a cohesive overdose prevention plan. 

David Sjostedt can be reached at

Two lawyers speak to the media.

Nima Momeni’s Attorneys Say Willie Brown, San Francisco Lawyers Make Fair Trial Here Impossible

A man blows e-cigarette vape smoke into the air at a smoke shop.

Vape Companies Are Selling Illegal Flavored Products to San Franciscans, Says Lawsuit

An exterior photo of San Francisco City Hall on a sunny day.

San Francisco Residents Could Vote on Drastic Reforms to City Hall Next Year

A man a gray bottom shirt poses for a portrait along a bridge

‘A Punch to the Gut’: Bridge Repairs To Sever San Francisco Muni Line for up to 2 Years

A man looks at an ipad with a drone in the background.

San Francisco’s Mayor Wants Police Drones To Help With Car Chases. How Would It Work?